The biggest news first - the best club football competition in the world is in PES 2009 as Konami secures exclusive UEFA Champions League licence! Following the conclusion of an exclusive 4 year licence with UEFA, the UEFA Champions League deal will allow Konami to use all elements and attributes of the competition to create an exclusive UEFA Champions League mode within the PES game.
New modes and gamplay additions abound as PES 2009 strives to band together PES players in the quest for football perfection. PES 2009 has been reworked from the ground up, featuring new player models, AI elements and physics routines that all combine to create the most advanced and realistic football game ever, but at the heart of PES 2009 are two new modes designed to make players rethink the way they approach the game.
If that's not all, Manchester United and Liverpool are both Official Licensed teams within the game as well. PES 2009 will feature the most detailed likenesses of the current European Champions Manchester United along with full use of the team's kits and club crests. Similarly, PES 2009 also captures the unique skills of the Manchester side's key players with the game's recreations of Carlos Tevez, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Edwin van der Sar boasting bespoke animations to ensure they move like their real-life counterparts in addition to looking like
As an Official Partner of Liverpool FC, Konami has the right to use LFC logos and marks in all its internal and commercial promotions. The team, its kits, logos and players will also appear officially licensed.
'PES Unites' is the key phrase Konami is using to sum up the ethos of the new game. PES 2009 also improves on its many existing game modes and adds a number of new ways to play the game. Central to this is the new 'Become a Legend' solo mode, which casts the user as a midfielder or striker within a match. Using a default vertical camera view, the player starts as a rookie pro at the start of their career, and charts the many highs and lows of becoming a professional player. An extension of the popular 'Fix' mode, the 'Become a Legend' mode sees the player operate in their favoured attacking position, and work as part of the overall team as opposed to controlling every member as in a normal game.
If successful, the player must first cement their place in the starting line-up with strong performances, before catching the eye of bigger clubs and earning a move to top flight teams. Of course, results are everything in modern day football, and players must force their way into contention or face lengthy stints as a substitute or eventually be forced to take a step down to a smaller club if performances are not good enough. The 'Become a Legend' mode has already proved a massive hit in Japanese versions of PES since 2007, and is certain to enjoy similar status across Europe.
PES 2009 also boasts an online variant of the 'Become a Legend' mode, entitled simply 'Legends.' Players can use their saved player in online matches with like-minded friends, and can show their skills on the larger online stage.
The PES series has always been famed for its deep yet accessible control system, but the new game is aiming even higher. PES 2009 offers an unprecedented level of control, redefining the intricacies of first touch, close control and ball distribution, while also enhancing its shooting and AI mechanisms to create an all-round footballing experience. Konami's Tokyo-based Pro Evolution Soccer Production Team has introduced new control systems wherein the player can now perform tricks and feints without the use of special moves, but within the context of the player's run and via rapid turns and movements of the Dpad or analogue stick.
Likewise, the way the player guides the ball has been changed. The PES series has always treated the ball as a separate entity, but new calculations related to the air resistance and friction of the ground make passing and movement in PES 2009 a great deal more realistic. Different weather conditions will now have a more pronounced effect on the weight and movement of passes, with players having to compensate for more heavy conditions in poor weather.
Producer Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka and his team have also worked to extend the remit of their Teamvision AI routines, with on-screen team mates adapting their tactics according to current situations, and moving into space to assist the player in attacking and defensive situations. Teamvision also recognizes strategies that work for or against it, and will accumulate the data for use in Master League and League mode.
The ever-present Master League has also been reworked, with negotiations now a lot simpler and conducted on a two-tier club and personal basis, while loyalty now plays a part with disaffected players' moods having an adverse affect on their performances.
Adding an all-new layer of gloss to PES 2009's much-enhanced realism, the game has also undergone a radical aesthetic upgrade. Stadiums now have more realistic environment and atmospheric elements, while the PLAYSTATION®3 and Xbox 360 versions will also showcase LED hoardings. Likewise, the way distance is shown has been changed, with the use of contrast adding a depth field to the action, while there is also a new vertical camera angle that automatically switches to a closer proximity during key one-on-one situations.
Every player in the game has also been totally redefined, with all new face and body detail, with further facial animations and kit detailing adding to the realism. The game's Edit mode has also been boosted with the ability to create bespoke matches via the importing of faces, kits, and even sound files for specific music and crowd chants for any team. A new Pixel Paint system has also been integrated, allowing players to create their own club crests and badges to add to their home-grown kits.